JUNE SKYNOTES, 2018
As the month proceeds, the Sun climbs through the stars of Taurus until around 20h on the 21st, when it crosses the border into Gemini. The solstice occurs on June 21st at 10h08. The Earth-Sun distance is 152, 028,935 km. The solstice marks the astronomical start of summer in the northern hemisphere, and the beginning of winter in the southern. Thus takes place the longest day and shortest night for us here in the UK, and thereafter night length increases once again. The season of summer lasts about 94 days. In the northern UK, there is no true night, and at astronomical midnight, the sky is not black but a beautiful velvet deep blue, merging to turquoise on the northern horizon. Don’t forget to look out for noctilucent clouds in the hour before and after midnight as they catch the light of the Sun, which is not very far below the northern horizon at this time of year.
Moon is at perigee (nearest to the Earth) on June 14th at 24h, and the lunar diameter is 33mins of arc.
The Moon is at apogee (furthest from the Earth) twice this month, on the 2nd at 16h and on the 30th at 02h. Lunar diameter 30 mins of arc.
Last Quarter Moon is on the 6th at 18h32 in the constellation of Aquarius.
New Moon occurs on the 13th, at 19h44 when the Moon passes 4° to the south of the Sun in the constellation of Taurus.
First Quarter is on the 20th at 10h52 in western Virgo.
Full Moon is at 04h54 on the 28th, approaching Saturn in Sagittarius. This is the lowest Full Moon of this year.
Look for earthshine on the waxing crescent Moon from June 14th to the 19th, and from the 7th to the 11th on the waning crescent. Earthshine is the faint illumination on the night hemisphere of the Moon due to the light of our planet falling on the dark lunar surface illuminating it, rather like moonlight falling on Earth.
Mercury is at superior conjunction with the Sun on the 6th. It then moves
out into the evening sky until it reaches greatest elongation east of the Sun in July. The best time to try to locate Mercury, low in the NW is during the latter half of the month.
In ancient times, the evening apparition of the planet was referred to as Hermes, (the Greek name for Mercury), and the planet in its morning apparition was called Apollo, the harbinger of sunrise. In mythology, Hermes carried Apollo on his chariot through the night.
During June, Venus sets around 23h, and dominates the heavens as the brightest star-like celestial body in the night sky. Look for the planet in the evening twilight, in the NW. Through a small telescope, Venus has the appearance of a gibbous moon. In ancient times, Venus in its evening apparition was known as Hesperus the ‘Evening Star’. During the evenings of the 15th and 16th, the waxing crescent Moon may be seen in the vicinity of Venus. On the 15th, the Moon lies 10° to the lower right of Venus, and on the 16th the Moon lies 5° to the left of Venus.
Mars rises at 00h (midnight) at the start of June, and at 22h30 at the month’s end. Its magnitude ranges from -1.2 to -2.1 as the planet approaches its opposition next month. It is now very bright and noticeable because of its fiery coloured light, enhanced by its low position in the sky in Capricornus. In the latter half of the month it culminates (crosses the south meridian) at an altitude of 15° at around 03h. On the 30th the gibbous waning Moon may be seen 3° above Mars as the two are rising at this time (23h).
Jupiter is moving retrograde in Libra, and starts the month just less than 1° above Libra’s brightest star Zubenelgenubi (alpha Librae). Together with Venus, the two planets are the brightest of the celestial objects in the evening twilight. The waxing gibbous Moon is 3° to the north of Jupiter in the evening of June23rd.
Look through binoculars or a small telescope to observe the dance of the Galilean satellites, which change position on a nightly basis.
Saturn is at opposition and its nearest to the earth on the 27th of June. It lies in the constellation of Sagittarius and is at its lowest declination south of the celestial equator. Despite this, you should be able to see the widely opened rings through a small telescope and the brighter of the planet’s major satellites depending on their position in relation to the planet. These include Titan, Iapetus, Rhea, Dione, Tethys and Enceladus, and possibly Mimas. These Saturnian satellites range in magnitude from +8 to +11 and so are much fainter than the Galilean satellites of Jupiter. Saturn and the Full Moon are in conjunction during the early hours of the 28th, when at 00h, as they cross the meridian, Saturn lies 2° to the lower left of the Moon. As the night proceeds and twilight brightens, the Moon will be seen continuing to approach Saturn until, just before they set, the angular distance between them, closing.
In the bright twilight of June, both Neptune, which rises at about midnight, in Aquarius and Uranus, rising an hour or so later in Pisces, are not suitably placed for observation during June.
During this month the International Space Station is passing through a period of full illumination. This offers multiple opportunities for viewing the ISS for observers in the UK. See http://www.heavens-above.com Remember to put in your location coordinates. There is a Smartphone application called Heavens-Above, whick can be downloaded.
Constellations visible in the south around midnight, mid-month, are as follows: Ophiuchus, Serpens Cauda, Hercules, and the head of Draco the dragon, which is near the zenith.
All times are GMT 1° is one finger width at arm’s length.
The phenomena of the month : June 2018
Times are given in UT for SCARBOROUGH UK (0° 25' 0" W, 54° 16' 3" N, zone 0 = UT).
Date Hour Description of the phenomenon
yyyy mm dd hh:mm
2018 06 01 00:53 Close encounter between the Moon and Saturn (topocentric dist. centre to
centre = 0.8°)
2018 06 01 03:17 Close encounter between the Moon and M 22 (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 2.3°)
2018 06 02 13:13 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 02 16:34 Moon at apogee (geocentric dist. = 405317 km)
2018 06 05 07:40 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 06 05 10:02 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 06 02:01 SUPERIOR CONJUNCTION of Mercury with the Sun (geoc. dist. centre to centre = 0.7°)
2018 06 06 03:58 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 06 06 10:00 Mercury at its perihelion (distance to the Sun = 0.30750 AU)
2018 06 06 18:32 LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2018 06 08 06:51 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 08 08:51 Close encounter between Venus and Pollux (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 4.7°)
2018 06 10 01:13 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2018 06 11 03:40 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 11 03:47 Opposition of the asteroid 192 Nausikaa with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.507 AU; magn. = 10.5)
2018 06 11 12:45 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 06 12 05:29 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2018 06 12 11:54 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 06 13 19:43 NEW MOON
2018 06 14 00:28 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 14 23:55 Moon at perigee (geocentric dist. = 359503 km)
2018 06 15 13:25 Opposition of the asteroid 29 Amphitrite with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.720 AU; magn. = 9.5)
2018 06 16 20:08 Opposition of the asteroid 9 Metis with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.673 AU; magn. = 9.7)
2018 06 16 21:17 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 16 21:32 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 06 17 22:32 Beginning of occultation of 16-psi Leo (magn. = 5.36)
2018 06 17 22:44 End of occultation of 16-psi Leo (magn. = 5.36)
2018 06 19 16:08 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 06 19 18:06 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 19 20:46 Opposition of the asteroid 4 Vesta with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.156 AU; magn. = 5.3)
2018 06 20 04:49 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2018 06 20 07:14 Close encounter between Venus and M 44 (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 0.4°)
2018 06 20 10:51 FIRST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2018 06 21 10:07 SUMMER SOLSTICE
2018 06 22 06:19 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 06 22 14:55 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 23 21:34 Close encounter between the Moon and Jupiter (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 3.2°)
2018 06 24 23:28 Beginning of occultation of 44-eta Lib (magn. = 5.41)
2018 06 25 00:43 End of occultation of 44-eta Lib (magn. = 5.41)
2018 06 25 01:10 Close encounter between Mercury and Pollux (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 4.8°)
2018 06 25 04:03 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2018 06 25 11:43 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 26 20:22 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 06 27 11:10 Meteor shower : June Bootids (duration = 11.0 days)
2018 06 27 13:29 OPPOSITION of Saturn with the Sun
2018 06 27 15:06 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 06 28 04:53 FULL MOON
2018 06 28 08:32 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 06 28 21:46 Beginning of occultation of 39-omicron Sgr (magn. = 3.76)
2018 06 28 22:46 End of occultation of 39-omicron Sgr (magn. = 3.76)
2018 06 30 02:43 Moon at apogee (geocentric dist. = 406061 km)
2018 06 30 08:25 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2018 06 30 23:47 Close encounter between the Moon and Mars (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 3.8°)
Generated using COELIX APEX software